Friday, October 7, 2016 9:00 am ·  0 Comments
There’s been a problem at the multiplex the last several weeks, because there have been a lot of average movies, or “stock” movies, without any exceptional titles on the marquee. Unfortunately, The Girl on the Train follows this fall’s pattern of unremarkable films. It’s mostly okay, yet mostly boring.
It’s sad, because it has an all-star team: director Tate Taylor (The Help), producer Marc Platt (Wanted), and Emily Blunt (Devil wears Prada, Young Victoria). The resumes of the cast and creative team should highlight how great a story like this could be. But the movie falls flat.
The movie is based on the 2015 thriller novel of the same title by Paula Hawkins, and provides weak source material. The producers are clearly trying to market this like 2014’s Gone Girl (released on the same weekend two years ago to great success), but fumbles in comparison as dull and unprepared.
Train is billed as a thriller, but there are no thrilling events. The story is described by screenwriter Erica Cressida Wilson as “sexy”, but the camerawork is plain and sordid. Neither is helped by Danny Elfman’s slow, unemotional score and orchestrations.
It’s billed as “nail-biting”, but there’s no suspense as the mystery unfolds. Simple events and what feels like dozens of flashbacks make the film feel as slow as a turtle in quicksand.
Blunt is one of the few assets to the film, exuding intense passion throughout the film. But she plays such an unappealing lead character it’s hard to appreciate her effort. Haley Bennett finds herself in similar shoes, but gets much less screen time to shine.
The editing doesn’t improve the flow; shots move lighting fast with no coherence, leaving no impression. And when Taylor combines all these mild faults, it mostly amounts to an unspectacular two hours that slog on. There’s a few sharp and exciting scenes, but most of it feels unsocial. There’s nothing terribly offensive, but nothing worth seeing.
Though if none of this is enough to get under your skin, the last straw may be the twist ending, where writers Hawkins and Wilson expose how terrible all the husbands truly are, and how all men in suburbia are scum, whether they are guilty or not. (Don’t worry, this doesn’t spoil anything that happens.)
If it’s tense drama and suspense you want, there’s the much better Sully still playing. If it’s perilous action and heart-pumping thrills, last week’s Deepwater Horizon can deliver the fix. But Train won’t help in either department, especially with better choices playing in theatres.